I think I found Gadhafi! I think he’s working in our warehouse!
Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled his nation with an iron fist for over four decades, was nowhere to be found as rebel troops swept into the capital over the weekend.
The months-long revolt against his oppressive regime appeared to be reaching a climax this week as jubilant crowds took to the streets to mark the madman’s apparent overthrow.
But the people’s celebration was muted by the fact that the swarthy strongman had not yet been captured and brought to justice.
I think I know why. I think he somehow made it to the United States, registered with a temp agency near Charlotte, N.C., and showed up in our warehouse Monday morning ready to do some picking and packing.
My company runs a fulfillment operation in the warehouse adjacent to my office. We store materials on ceiling-high shelves, then retrieve and ship them in small quantities at our clients’ request. Some days there’s a lot of this work and some days there’s not, so we rely on unskilled temporary employees to do the labor.
There’s a big project going on this week, and I think one member of the work force is Moammar Gadhafi. I’ve seen him several times, once driving a forklift and once again at the end of a production line taping packages closed.
I know that as all-powerful tyrant of his North African nation, he was a megalomaniac responsible for the deaths of thousands and the oppression of millions. But as an all-purpose warehouseman, charged with everything from stuffing envelopes to applying mailing labels, he’s actually a pretty good worker.
He shows up on time. He follows instructions. He works well with others. He’s even careful to stay between the painted yellow lines when walking through the area near the shipping dock. We regard safety as “Job One” around here, and he could go far (maybe even getting hired to a full-time stock clerk position) if he follows through on this first impression.
I think he’s Moammar Gadhafi. He’s older than the other workers, though his dark, stringy hair doesn’t reveal his age. His command of English is limited. I suppose he could be Mexican, like many of those he’s working with, but the complexion could just as easily be the vaguely Afro-Indo-Latino-Arabic look that most of our temp staff sports.
If it is him, he wisely left the turban and robes at home and showed up here in shorts, a t-shirt and comfortable athletic shoes. And, might I point out, his shorts do not sag, unlike those of many of his coworkers.
We don’t typically refer to the temps by their names, since we know they’re often here today and gone tomorrow. The floor boss that the possible Moammar works under calls him “you with the ‘I ♥ THE KORAN’ shirt”. I checked the printed roster of names they put on the wall to tell people the next day’s schedule, and I’m guessing he’s the “Morris Q. Dafi” on the list.
There are other clues too. I heard someone in the restroom trying to talk with him about the Lockerbie bombing (the 1988 Libyan attack on a Pan American jet that killed 270 people over Scotland), and he kept changing the subject to pre-season football. Later, in the canteen, he was heating up a lunch in the microwave that smelled a lot like camel casserole.
And when he’s asked to retrieve a box from one of the higher shelves in the warehouse, he looks up at it with this steely-yet-faraway gaze, like you might see on one of those heroic billboard renditions in Tripoli.
I don’t know what I should do. I was reading in this morning’s news that uncertainty about his capture has kept the house-to-house street-fighting in the Libyan capital active, and that the rebels won’t be able to declare complete victory until the despot is captured. Both NATO forces and the U.S. State Department are eager for the civil war to end.
But he seems so good at his job, and this GenCo project we’re working on this week is on a really tight deadline. If we impress them with this project, there could be a lot more work coming our way.
I think for now, I won’t say anything to the authorities. I’m probably wrong anyway. Surely he couldn’t get past the E-Verify screening where he’s asked if he ever brutally jailed or murdered any of his own people.
I think I’ll say “hi” to him next time I have to cut through the warehouse to get to Human Resources. Maybe I’ll show him that little electrical room we have way in the back that everybody’s afraid to go in because of the “high voltage” signs.
It’d make a great spider-hole, like the one that hid Saddam Hussein for months, if “Mo” sees Immigration coming and he needs a place to gather himself.